‘Virtually Fragile’ is a series that takes its inspiration from images of broken screens in order to paint digital landscapes of complex colour and form, simultaneously geometric and spontaneous in their composition. Working from found images of a variety of broken devices, I have sought to highlight the fact that the digital world, despite its seemingly limitless potential, is not yet immortal. Like all things, our personal relationship with the virtual realm is temporal; as we enter into the digital world through our screens, the gateway through which we travel can just as soon be taken away from us with one false move, one simple drop of our cell phone. Ultimately, we can understand here that the digital world is still answerable to the physical world.

 

The function of the screen in contemporary society lends itself naturally to my work. Screens represent the border between our natural, tangible and potentially limited reality, and the intangible yet expansive realm of the virtual. Through painting broken screens I aim to take away from the common conception of ‘digital perfection’, and instead create a dialogue that is arguably more accurate, or 'real', than the falsehood of flawlessness. In this sense the ‘Virtually Fragile’ series can be understood as hyperreal, both on a conceptual and aesthetic level.

 

The series' title is inspired by the position we find ourselves in, although we invest more and more of our time and energy in our internet selves, we are never far away from losing it all, hence the 'fragility' of the situation, running in parallel to the fragility of the devices themselves.

 © Josh Rowell 2019

Portfolio website of works by emerging contemporary artist Josh Rowell.

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